Buddies, Beer, and Bibles

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Trending on social media the last few days is the controversy raised by a campaign and a conversation. This was a conversation that involved Buddies, Beer, and Bibles. The Bible Society of Australia is celebrating their 200th Anniversary and in commemoration of this occasion, Coopers Brewery will produce a special batch of limited edition light beer cans. A part of this celebration from the Bible Society’s end is the launch of a campaign called “Keeping it Light”. This was to be a series of “light discussions on the heaviest topics. Starting with the topic of same-sex marriage”. Continue reading Buddies, Beer, and Bibles

Successful Christian Ministry

Success

Today there are many tools and methods used in Christian ministry. Some are very helpful whereas others are very unhelpful. Sadly, many of these are designed to appeal to the desires of people. This method is often referred to as being “Seeker Sensitive”. Obviously we don’t ever want to use methods that are mean to people, but to tailor everyone around people’s desires is unbiblical. The goal of a lot of these methods is to help produce a successful ministry. Many people measure a successful ministry by large numbers. Is this legitimate? Biblically speaking, true success is not determined by large numbers but is determined by faithfulness (cf. and ). Continue reading Successful Christian Ministry

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.

Marriage Under Attack: Adultery, Divorce and Homosexuality

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In my last post I looked at the sins of pornography, premarital sex and cohabitation. In this post I will now consider three more sins that are an attack on marriage. Continue reading Marriage Under Attack: Adultery, Divorce and Homosexuality

Marriage Under Attack

Bride and Groom

Marriage is under attack. Of course this is not hot off the press news. Since God first instituted marriage back in , the institution of marriage has been criticised and contorted by many. There are those who verbally mock the institution, others will sabotage it and some have tried to redefine it. Continue reading Marriage Under Attack

2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The Search for Satisfaction

Searching for Satisfaction

It is a natural desire for people to seek and search for satisfaction. A baby cries for milk because he or she wants to be satisfied. What do people pursue in order to be satisfied? Here are just a few things that many strive to obtain so as to be satisfied – money, sex, health, beauty, fitness, friends, promotion and security. Of course this list could go on and on, but you get the point. For the sake of brevity, we could summarise all these things (and the many others) into three categories: possessions, pleasure and popularity. Continue reading The Search for Satisfaction

Sinful Culture vs. Holy Bible

© wjarek – Fotolia.com

or Why the crafty serpent is winning the argument again

Two of the most hotly contested topics in the church today are homosexuality, and the role of men and women in the church. The two issues have two things in common. Firstly, they arguably cause more disagreement and controversy than any other topic within Evangelical and wider Protestant circles. Secondly, on both of these issues, pastors, lay people and theologians are essentially reinterpreting what scripture says. It’s the second of these two that I will focus on here.

My focus is how Christians are reinterpreting scripture, though homosexuality and gender roles will be used as illustrations of how it is occurring. Readers may disagree with me on those issues, but that merely serves as an illustration of the controversy surrounding them. In attempting to make sense of the biblical texts which speak of these issues, you hear people say things like, “Oh, but that text is for that particular church at that particular time.” Scholars are translating the original Greek in entirely new ways, showing that Paul didn’t really mean that homosexual practice is sinful when he wrote Romans (see , for example). Paul also couldn’t have meant that women are not to teach the bible when he wrote to Timothy (see ). Even if he did, they might say, it doesn’t apply to us today. In other words, people are starting to say that Paul didn’t really mean what we’ve always thought. Continue reading Sinful Culture vs. Holy Bible

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Motherhood: Precious and Powerful

Mother

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. This special occasion serves as an important reminder concerning the importance and influence of motherhood. As we look back in history, it is clear that we all come from a long line of mums. Sadly, the value of this great status is undervalued by many.

One of the problems with the feminist movement of today is that it tries to argue that there is nothing uniquely special about women. It attempts to make an equality of male and female in all functions and roles. On the contrary, the Scriptures reveal that there is something unique and precious about being a woman – and it is not found by denying her femininity. Of course, this does not suggest that one gender is superior in intellect and understanding. Both male and female have the capacity to honour the Lord in the most extraordinary of ways. Instead of being deceived, a woman can be truly liberated by embracing the truest kind of beauty that is uniquely found in biblical femininity. There is something very precious about a woman being a woman and this is freeing. One unique feature of being a woman is the possibility of being a mother.

A godly mother is a precious and priceless gift of God. A godly mum has the potential to shape the way people speak, behave and even influence others. What makes a mother influential in a lasting and God honouring way is not her position, education, personality or background. The basis of her lasting influence is her character ().

Motherhood is Precious

Motherhood is a calling designed and defined by God. For this reason, there is an inbuilt value in motherhood. Despite deliberate decisions to delay motherhood, or even society’s attempt to undervalue motherhood, true motherhood is of immense value and worth. If you are a mum, prize this calling and opportunity. Understand that there is a certain dignity attached to this and that you have something of far more value than the accumulating of power, prominence and possessions. You are a mum!

Let this be a reminder to all of us that we ought to value mums and acknowledge how precious their status is. Thank God for the gift of motherhood and pray for the mums you know. It should be an automatic part of one’s thinking that equates motherhood with value, worth and importance.

Motherhood is Powerful

Motherhood is not only precious, it is powerful. In what way? A mother is granted a unique and influential role in the home. A godly mother will not view the home as a place of little or secondary importance (). Instead, she will view the home as a domain of love, joy, training and influence. Her task as a mum is to love () and instruct her children in the Lord ().

Consider Lois and Eunice as an example. Lois was the grandmother of Timothy and Eunice was his mum (). These two ladies had a powerful influence on the ministry of the church! It was by their actions of faithfully teaching young Timothy in the way of the Lord that prepared him for his future ministry (). There are untold examples of how the godly influence of a mother shaped and equipped the life of many believers.

Motherhood is an amazing privilege. I thank God for mums and pray that mums will know the importance of functioning according to God’s blueprint for His glory.

10  An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

14:1 The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.

and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,

20 My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Worldly Vision

Broken Vision

UPDATE: Just two days after the announcement, World Vision (US) have reversed their decision to hire same-sex couples. Praise be to our Lord. Important lessons can be learnt from this and the importance of maintaining strong Biblical convictions so that we are not moved by our culture.

Earlier this week, World Vision had announced that its American branch will allow same-sex couples who are legally married to be employed. World Vision has provided relief to countless people in need and is unparalleled in its size and practical aid. This organisation has been providing help to those in true need and for this we ought to be grateful.

Then why make this an issue? After all, Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision (US) states that this is a “very narrow policy change”. Stearns adds that “This is not compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of local churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.” Interestingly, Stearns says that World Vision (US) “will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff.” Regardless of what he says, the moment you depart from the clear teaching of God’s Word you have become worldly. This organisation claims to be motived by their faith in Jesus Christ, so they must be accountable to the Word of Christ in what they say.

This sad announcement provides some important lessons for God’s people.

Firstly, regardless of what is going on around us, God’s Word must be our final authority. If the Word says it we believe it! People may say they are not capitulating, but when the world is contrary to Scripture and you go with the world, you have capitulated. The Word of God is our authority. It is our duty to live by it and declare it.

Secondly, Christians are to be a faithful witnesses of the gospel in the world. Yes, let us have world vision but not worldly vision. When it comes to the world, those who profess faith in Christ can fall into one of two extremes. There are those who become worldly and there are those who become isolated. Both are wrong. As Christians, it is our duty to be salt and light in this corrupt and dark world (). I agree with Russell Moore when he said, “World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see”.

Thirdly, let us not lose sight of the priority and power of the gospel. To go against what Scripture teaches on a kingdom and moral issue (cf. ) is to show a lack of true love towards those we minister to. John Piper insightfully states, “When World Vision embraces as an acceptable alternative behavior what God says will lead to eternal suffering (), it sets a trajectory of lovelessness.” Sadly, many have responded with hate speech and a harsh condemnation to homosexuals and others in sin. The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ ought to recognise that homosexuality is indeed sexual sin worthy of eternal punishment, but they must show the power of the gospel in providing hope for the homosexual and all sinners. Let us not lose sight of the priority and power of the gospel “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” ().

Recommended Reading:

Pointing to Disaster – The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision 
by Albert Mohler

World Vision: Adultery No, Homosexual Practice Yes
by John Piper

The Worldliness in World Vision’s New Hiring Policy
by Kevin DeYoung

On World Vision and the Gospel
by Russell Moore

 

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

A Word to those who are Single I: Concerning Singleness

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The Internet is filled with various “helps” for singles meeting singles. Among many in society and the church there appears to be this false notion that there is something wrong with being single. This false notion leads to an obsession where people try to mix and match people while disregarding their situation. Sadly, there are a number of silly expectations placed on those who are single and strange conclusions concerning their singleness. It doesn’t help when people look at those who are single and ask questions like, “I wonder what is wrong with that person?” Granted, being single means different things for different people. For some, the condition of being single is satisfying whereas for others it is a struggle (more on these descriptions in a later post).

When it comes to being single, there are different kinds of singleness. There are those who are gifted and called to be single (). There are those who are single but desire to marry. There are those who are single because they have lost their spouse through death or even divorce (). Then there is an additional category where people are single because they elevate celibacy as being most spiritual of states. This final category is unbiblical and to be completely rejected.

Does the Bible address the issue of singleness? Yes it does! In a series of posts I would like to look at what Scripture has to say on this topic of singleness. We will consider the advantages and challenges of being single. Then we will examine some biblical principles for the satisfied singles and the struggling singles. In this introductory post I will briefly look at the condition of singleness and provide some biblical understanding for those who are single.

Many view the single as a poor, miserable and pitied group. Is this fair? I don’t think so. Being single is a valid status, as long as it is in conformity to the principles found in God’s Word. In response to a particular question in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul stated, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (). Here Paul is simply making the point that being single is a valid and commendable option for an individual (cf. ). Of course, this state must be marked by purity (“not to have sexual relations“). This does not mean Paul viewed marriage as inferior to being single. In the very next verse () Paul argues that if someone is not able to remain in the state of celibacy because of sexual temptation, it is better for him or her to marry (see also ). Furthermore, Paul taught that those who forbid marriage are apostates () and in his letter to the Ephesians he upheld the importance of marriage by identifying it as a picture of Christ and the church (). Paul had a high view of marriage but he did not relegate singles to second-class citizens. Both states are honorable if they are in conformity to the Word of God.

Being single is not to be placed in the category of a person with some problem. No, being single is a commendable and valid state whether it is temporary or permanent depending on the situation. History is filled with examples of believers who were single and yet faithful in their service to the Lord, like the apostle Paul, David Brainerd, Amy Carmichael and Mary Slessor. We could also form a long list of those who were single due to the death of their spouse and rendered exemplary service to the Lord. Of course, the greatest of all examples of an individual that was single and most faithful is the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot improve on that!

If you are a Christian and single, don’t despair. Know and understand that your current status can be used to the glory of God. Perhaps you may be someone who desires to marry or you may be content in the situation you are in. In either situation, do not waste your current state on what ifs and activities that are meaningless! Right now you have a providential opportunity to live your life in accordance to the Word of God in a way that a married person can’t. It will be my goal in this series to provide sensitive encouragement and strong exhortation to singles. In my next post I want to talk about the advantages of being single.

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

7:1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 7:25-40

25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.